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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fantasy football: Playoff pools, top RBs

Fifteen players rushed for 1,000 yards this season -- tying the 2001 campaign for the lowest number of four-figure rushers since 1999.

Of the 15, only five made the postseason (think the game has changed?), which makes choosing the top backs for playoff pools difficult, especially considering four of the five play for teams seeded fourth or lower (Thomas Jones, Ray Rice, Ryan Grant and Cedric Benson) -- making them a risk to be one-and-done.

Before we get to the rankings, here is a link for the top quarterbacks, posted Monday.


10. Marion Barber, Cowboys: He ran for 932 yards and seven TDs, but didn't score in two games against the Eagles (Dallas' opponent Saturday night) and was outplayed by Felix Jones down the stretch.

9. Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals: Prior to resting for much of last week's loss to the Packers, the rookie from Ohio State had a three-game stretch in which he tallied 319 total yards and three touchdowns.

8. Cedric Benson, Bengals: He has 1,362 total yards in 13 games, and he has a decent chance to play twice.

7. Thomas Jones, Jets: Between Benson and Jones, one will play in Round 2, and if it's the latter, he could be a threat to have a big game against the Colts. Jones finished third in the NFL with 1,402 yards rushing and had 14 TDs.

6. Ray Rice, Ravens: With 1,339 rushing yards, 78 receptions and 2,041 total yards, he has the best stats of any postseason back who doesn't go by All Day, but the Ravens will be lucky to play more than once in the playoffs. Rice, who has eight TDs, frequently loses goal-line carries to Willis McGahee.

5. Ryan Grant, Packers: He was a disappointment to many fantasy owners until the final four weeks, when he accounted for six of his 11 TDs. Grant was seventh in the league with 1,253 rushing yards.

4. Pierre Thomas, Saints: He failed to top 800 yards on the ground and barely broke a sweat as the Saints went into cruise control the last three games (12 total attempts), but Thomas scored eight times and caught 39 passes. Plus, there's the likelihood he'll play two home games for a team that could advance to the Super Bowl.

3. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers: With 730 yards, L.T. didn't reach 1,000 for the first time in his nine-year career, but he did have 12 touchdowns -- 11 of which occurred in a nine-game stretch that ended in Week 16.

2. Joseph Addai, Colts: His rushing numbers (828 yards, 3.8 per carry) are less impressive than Jerome "Coach Mangini Held Me Back" Harrison, but Addai did have a TD in 11 of 15 games. He also caught 51 passes.

1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings: His 1,383 rushing yards ranked only fifth, but his 18 TDs on the ground were three more than the next-closest challenger (Maurice Jones-Drew), and Peterson also caught 43 passes (three more than his combined total from his first two seasons).


Darren Sproles, Chargers; Reggie Bush, Saints; Felix Jones, Cowboys; LeSean McCoy, Eagles; Mike Bell, Saints; Laurence Maroney, Patriots; Sammy Morris, Patriots; Tim Hightower, Cardinals; Brian Westbrook, Eagles; Donald Brown, Colts; Willis McGahee, Ravens; Shonn Greene, Jets; Fred Taylor, Patriots

Quick slants: Sproles has seven total TDs and 45 catches. ... Good luck finding a consistent back among the Patriots' three-headed monster of confusion. Maroney was the best of the bunch until he was benched after fumbling in Week 16. ... Bush has eight TDs and 47 catches, and Bell has five scores for the Saints, who certainly like to share the wealth. ... The electric Felix Jones has 49 carries for 258 yards (5.3) and nine receptions in his last four games. ... McCoy, after a promising start to his rookie season, had only 32 carries for 109 yards (3.4) in his last five regular-season games. Westbrook returned from a concussion to carry 14 times for 49 yards in the last two weeks. ... McGahee has 14 TDs (12 rushing, two receiving), including five games with two or more scores. ... Greene, a rookie from Iowa, has 29 carries for 157 yards in his last two contests.


Monday: Quarterbacks; Today: Running backs; Wednesday: Wide receivers; Thursday: Tight ends, kickers and defenses/special teams.

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